Looking to give back this Christmas? Learn more about Fridge Twinning, an emergency appeal to help beat the COVID hunger crisis.
Part of our ‘Communities Spreading Cheer’ series
Time To Give Back
Twin & Fridge Go Together Like Christmas & Food
Christmas is synonymous with food. We all await the reveal of each supermarket’s festive selection as though it’s going to change the world; heck we even wrote an entire post about it!
After all, Christmas is about traditions and what feels more traditional than turkey, stuffing and roast potatoes followed by a generous serving of Christmas pudding. Oh, and don’t forget the brandy butter.
Yes, Christmas and food go together like Santa and Rudolph. But what about if you went to your fridge to find it empty.
No turkey. No stuffing. No roast potatoes.
Food poverty has been a growing issue worldwide for many years with the crisis only being exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that, as a result of the economic impact of COVID alone, 40 million people worldwide are now facing acute hunger.
Many labourers, and those working in the informal economy (more than 60% of the world’s working population), lost their jobs overnight as lockdowns spread globally. In these poorer nations there are no safety nets, or food banks, or furlough schemes. Instead families were left to fend for themselves with nothing.
Food & COVID-19
For many of us, food has been an important part of our own journeys through the pandemic (I think a good percentage of UK households consumed at least one banana bread over the last 20 months)!
Plus, being a former professional chef myself, whose life and livelihood at one point depended completely on food, I remind myself each day to be grateful for the ability to open my refrigerator and find it full of food.
So at a time of year where food plays such an integral role and when the thought of not being able to provide for loved ones is terrifying, Hannah and I found ourselves wanting to do more.
Tell Us About Your Project
Want to share a Christmas cheer project underway in your local area? It’s very much a case of ‘The More The Merrier’. We love sharing good news heartwarming stories, no matter the scope or size!
How Can We Do More?
Let’s Talk About Fridge Twinning
An organization known as Toilet Twinning was on the ground in these poorer countries as the pandemic spread. Toilet Twinning, whose focus is on improving access to sanitation and water in some of the poorest regions of the world, began to notice that needs were expanding in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.
As more and more people found themselves without work and without support systems in place, hunger and starvation became more prevalent.
And so, Fridge Twinning was born.
In September of this year, we chatted to Seren Boyd from the Toilet Twinning organization, who was able to tell us more, not just about Fridge Twinning but all of their campaigns.
Seren explained that Fridge Twinning is an emergency appeal which launched in May 2021 to raise urgent funds to help those most vulnerable following the impact of COVID-19. In just two weeks, Fridge Twinning had already raised £100,000 to fund three separate food related programmes.
What? Where? Who?
- Food deliveries. As it says on the tin, this project works to provide parcels of food to individuals and families in order to give immediate relief.
- Cash Vouchers. A well-established format, cash vouchers allow individuals the ability to purchase the food of their choice, rather than providing a set parcel of food.
- Support & Training. These programs work to promote self-sufficiency. Whether that be through distributing seeds and tools and teaching individuals how to farm in climate change resistant ways, establishing fishing projects, or helping to set up small businesses to sell food, this is all about sustainability, dignity and empowerment.
So specifically which countries do the funds go to?
The appeal is supporting projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, South Sudan, Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. That being said, funds at any given time are directed to wherever the need is greatest. When we spoke to Seren back in September, a key focus was Afghanistan.
Plus, Seren explained that while Fridge Twinning was launched as an emergency appeal, as the full repercussions of COVID-19 are becoming clearer, and it is evident that it is taking time for the vaccine to reach some of these nations, it is likely that Fridge Twinning will continue to run for some time to support those experiencing acute hunger.
Fridge Twinning Success Stories
‘I can’t afford to look after my young children’
Dalila and her family have been living in Lebanon since they fled Syria in 2013. Her husband has not been able to find work during the pandemic so they have run up debts of over £3,000 paying rent on their one-bedroom flat. Every day, they fear being evicted.
‘Our two youngest children still wear nappies and drink milk. But we can’t afford these things.’
Thanks to Fridge Twinning, Dalila was able to have access to food vouchers so she can feed the family and decide how best to use the money.
‘I had to sell my belongings to feed my children’
Zewditu is a widow and mother-of-four living in Ethiopia. She used to run a food stall serving local labourers but, when their work stopped due to Covid, Zewditu lost all her customers.
‘I had to close my business and sold my equipment to keep feeding my children. I wondered how I’d ever get started again.’
With a cash grant of £30, Zewditu was able to buy new furniture and equipment and reopen her business. This newfound security has restored her hope. ‘The money I received may look small but I know that it brought me out of depression. I’m now confident that I can expand and open a small restaurant.’
After months of lockdown, the cupboards in Kanchan’s home became completely empty. This desperate family became terrified of starving to death.
Due to Covid-19, the 36-year-old mum lost all her daily wages when she no longer had any work as a housemaid or a labourer in road construction projects.
But, with a cash grant, Kanchan can now feed her family.
‘We have bought some chickens and ducks and rented a piece of land from a neighbour to grow vegetables,’ she says. ‘The cash support was like water in the desert to us.’
Spread The Word!
Like what you’ve seen? Be sure to share with your friends.
Let’s sprinkle Christmas cheer far and wide!
Want To Twin Your Fridge?
Make a £30 donation to Fridge Twinning and receive a set of magnets to proudly display on your own fridge door. Not only is it a great reminder of your own little act of kindness every time you open the fridge door…but over the festive season when friends and family are helping themselves to leftovers and drinks, they too will see the magnets; in fact it’s through past donors proudly displaying these magnets in their homes that awareness of Fridge Twinning is spread.
Want to get involved with Fridge Twinning’s sister campaigns? Click below to find out more!
Toilet Twinning is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! If you choose to twin your toilet, you will receive a framed certificate to remind you of your donation and will be able to choose the country where you twin your toilet, and even personalise your certificate! Highly recommend this as a good wall decoration for your downstairs loo!!
Also born out of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and established in March 2020, Tap Twinning helps to provide better access to water, handwashing facilities and products such as soap.
Established just recently, Bin Twinning helps fund new social enterprises that are setting up bin collections and recycling projects in vulnerable communities overseas. The focus was initially in five countries but with positive and promising outcomes, this has now increased to seven.
Looking For More Community Cheer?
Get out and about with your local community and sprinkle Christmas cheer aplenty with a living advent calendar.
A simple act of Christmas kindness which gives focus to festive family walks and offers a super way to build strong community connections.
More Acts of Christmas Kindness were on display in the Teeside area as a group of university students spread elvish Christmas cheer.
Help us spread the word about this heartwarming project. And be sure to tag #jollyfestive when you do!
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jollyfestive for more inspiring stories of giving back this Christmas and beyond.
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